Everyone leaves a mark in this world in one way or another. It is only natural for people—considering that we are feeling and thinking creatures—to affect our surroundings, let alone to influence each other. Whether we like it or not, every single one of us is bound to touch the life of someone else, may it be positively or negatively regardless of how great or minor our action is. Perhaps this is the beauty of being human: all of us are mysteriously connected. Now the question is, what do we do with the unexplainable ties that we have with one another? What kind of legacy do we want to leave to this world?
When I was a child, I had everything I wished for. I had all the comfort in the world. From maids who would do my whims and biddings, drivers and cars to bring me wherever, a secure and cozy house I could always return to, and parents who would buy me whatever my heart desires. Because I was spoiled, I grew up to be a brat with an incredibly intolerable attitude. It even came to a point where I developed the mindset that I was superior from everyone else. I would often bully the smaller kids since I was used to obtaining anything I wanted, and this included the loyalty and friendship which I forced myself in to. This toxic lifestyle ended when I graduated from elementary and started high school. Slowly but surely, the wealth we had faded into thin air. Just like that, everything vanished. I discovered that my father had a gambling problem and the luxuries that I used to have—the maids, the drivers and cars, the cozy house—all disappeared. Even my parents were gone when they broke up. It was impossible to describe the pain I went through at those times. Letting go of the material things I was very attached to seemed unbearable. Moreover, watching my parents fight continuously day and night until they finally separated killed me inside. Come fourth year high school, I stopped with my studies and at the same time, my father finally left the family for his own selfish reasons. I remember how we became so poor that on some days, we were unable to eat. I pitied myself for coming to such a state and I felt so hopeless. I was beginning to give up on life. Watching my mother and my younger sister suffer everyday totally crushed me.
Although we hit rock bottom, all was not lost. A year after my dad abandoned us, my uncle (my mother’s brother) fostered us in his home. This uncle of mine wasn’t really someone you can call “well-off,” for in truth he lives in the slums and has a family of his own to support. He was also poverty-stricken. Amidst his destitution, he helped us at the time of our greatest need; he gave us food, shelter, and advice. With his guidance I finally graduated from high school. I learned the hard way that being arrogant and considering yourself as someone higher from the rest is wrong. I started to understand how money and glamorous objects are not what is important in life, but rather the bond that we have with others, most especially with our family.
Another year passed and I began studying in Adamson as a scholar. By this time, things started getting better; my mother got us an apartment to live in, my younger sister is studying again, my father returned to us and we forgave him even if he and my mom never truly got back together. What was important is that my parents got to reconcile.
It is amazing how fate can be so unpredictable. One day you are at the top and the next you’re caught down on the ground. What was astounding was the morals I have come to acquire through the aid of my uncle. I ended up in a school that promotes charity via the charity of my uncle.
What is certain now is the attachments we have with one another is what makes a mark and not the tangible things we have in this world. My uncle has made a mark in me, one that I will never forget. He showed me that serving others does not require fortune but willingness to do so. When I entered my current Alma Mater, I got educated about St. Vincent de Paul, and was astounded by his concern and deeds towards those who have less. I perceive my uncle as the best example of being a modern St. Vincent, who I will strive my best to follow. I am a Vincentian and just like St. Vincent and my uncle, I will leave kindness and charity in our world.
Josephus is an AB Mass Communication student of Adamson University. This piece won 3rd place in the recently concluded Vincentian On-the-Spot Essay Writing Contest with the theme “#IamVincent. I Come into this World to Leave a Mark.”